Single exam for Full UK licence?

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In the 2019 Report of the RSGB Examinations Standards Committee there is the following extract:

“4.3 Single exam for Full licence

The Examinations Group have prepared a draft syllabus, based on Syllabus 2019, for an exam that will provide direct entry to a Full licence, like the old RAE. This has now become possible due to the availability of online exams, which facilitates the construction of different types of exam from the questions in the bank. The ESC has agreed that the syllabus will be put out for consultation in the UK amateur radio community. This consultation will take place later in 2019. An important question, which is yet to be resolved in EG and ESC, concerns what form any practical examination might take, and we will look to the wider community for guidance on this.”

I was listening to a net the other day during which someone suggested that this approach might be “elitist”; in other words someone who gained a full licence in one go might be considered “superior” to those who had taken the current Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced exams to get a UK amateur radio licence.

I think it would suit some to take one exam and do not think anyone being successful by this method would be seen as elite. When I took the old RAE in 1975, I gained a Class B licence, which was for 144 MHz and up. I had not passed the Morse test and so my licence was restricted, but I was never treated as inferior by Class A amateurs. I did take the Morse test in 1981 to work more DX on VHF, but that was the only reason; not because of an inferiority complex.

In order to pass the RAE, I took a year’s weekly evening class at Southend College, commuting to Southend weekly on the train straight from my job in the City. The course was taught by Charlie, G8GUO. I wish I knew what happened to him, so if anyone knows, please put me in the picture. Did he give up radio, get a new callsign, even emigrate. I wonder? I was very grateful to him for getting me through the exam, of which I have a copy, and which I might have difficulty passing now! 😊

I do not think it matters how a new amateur gets a licence. I welcome the Foundation exam as a way of coaxing in new amateurs. We need the new blood and it is great how the clubs are organising courses which did not happen under the old system. However, if someone puts in the work to pass a RAE style exam in one go, who are we to criticise?

3 responses to “Single exam for Full UK licence?

  1. Never treated as inferior by A licence holders ,It still goes on in places now by G calls to m3,6,7 calls

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  2. Well back in 1992 I went through no-code Technician, then Tech+ (5wpm code) and then General (13wpm code) and finally Advanced and Extra (20wpm code). Also got my commercial radiotelephone license and my VE creds. I don’t know if I could have done all that in one sitting, but the year it took was enough. De KD1S

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  3. If you could just buy a full ticket, that would be elitist. The fact that some people are naturally gifted at radio and electronics and can prove they’ve the required knowledge in one step isn’t necessarily elitist. However, I think the question raises a potential division in the hobby we need to beware of. I’m among those who see amateur radio as primarily about experimentation and construction – that’s why I got into the hobby (I also worked in electronic design for a number of years); others are people who just get a thrill out of operating and might not necessarily find technical things easy or even interesting. That’s obviously an over-simplification but I have heard ‘operators’ talked down to by geeks like me, and I’ve heard those of us who’ve got the knack for the technical side called ‘elitist’. As it stands, the hobby should be big enough for all of us – we just need to avoid getting chips on our shoulders. I took the RAE in 1982 when I was 19 and found it easy, but there are many things I wish I could do that I find impossibly difficult (like speak another language well, draw, paint, play a musical instrument well, be good at a sport etc etc etc). Let the flyers fly, the walkers walk and the plodders plod – life’s too short for petty criticism; just enjoy the hobby at your level, whatever that is. 73 de MM0ACN

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